Terry W. Burgess   

 President, Chief Operating

  Officer and Senior Partner





Terry has twenty-five years of experience in education. He has served both as a professional educator and as an executive in support services management. His knowledge and experience in one discipline has greatly complimented the other.


After college and military service, Terry served as teacher, coach, athletic director and high school principal. Prior to starting Portolan Associates, he spent sixteen years with the Marriott Corporation analyzing and designing physical plant operations and food service management programs for educational institutions. Terry has designed support service programs for school district clients all over the United States. He has provided leadership for study teams from Wisconsin to Florida, and from California to Virginia. He has assessed programs as small as Franklin County Schools in Apalachicola, FL (four schools) and as large as the School District of Philadelphia (300 schools).

He is the project manager for many of our clients, including: The Detroit Public Schools (Interim COO), Operations Assessment/Implementation, The School District of Philadelphia (food service assessment/program monitoring, maintenance assessment /implementation assistance and training), The Public Building Authority (PBA) for the County of Knox and City of Knoxville, Tennessee (maintenance assessment /implementation assistance and monitoring), Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Schools (auxiliary department-status and improvement plan) and Duval County Public Schools (transportation assessment).

He has been able to help many clients become more “effective and efficient.” He has presented seminars on physical plant operations and food service management at national, regional and state conventions. In 1997, Terry was awarded the National Golden Eagle Award for outstanding leadership in the school services departments of the Marriott Corporation.

Terry has Masters and Education Specialist degrees in administration and supervision. He also has post-graduate studies in leadership, human relations, and motivational studies. Terry and his family live in Columbus, Georgia. He is an avid reader and sports enthusiast.



  Vice President





Rob is an experienced hands-on professional with a solid background in school operations (central office, physical plant, support and auxiliary services).  After serving in the United States Navy, Rob began his career with the fifth largest school district in the country, Broward County School District.  Rising steadily in the ranks, Rob became the lead supervisor of operations for the district (270 schools/sites). 


Each year, he provided budgetary, physical plant and quality assurance support to the principals of all 270 schools and sites.  He supported the central office and support service departments with developing bids, budgets and staffing. He also supported the facilities and construction management division, working with the project managers to bring new schools on-line, preparing schools (new and existing with additions/updates) to open at the beginning of the school year, training the administrators of the new schools and providing guidance/recommendations to the educational specifications department.  He developed and managed operations budgets in excess of ten million dollars.  He served on various strategic improvement committees providing support to identify areas in need of improvement and helping to implement the approved recommendations.  He worked in the Broward County human resources department, was instrumental in revising the curriculum of the operational courses, and was the senior trainer of their operational courses.

Rob has completed numerous educational and industry related training sessions such as provided by OSHA, Franklin Covey, International Sanitary Suppliers Association, the Council of Great City Schools and the Florida School Board Association.  Rob has conducted training sessions for all aspects of operational responsibilities including technical services, best practices, safety, leadership training and quality assurance.  He has been a presenter at public school district operational conferences.  He has extensive experience in researching and writing bid specifications for operational supplies, chemicals and equipment.


Over his twenty year career , Rob has conducted studies of central office, maintenance, custodial and grounds, food service, transportation, security, IT, HR, warehouse and printing operations at educational and municipal agencies.  He was the project manager performing operational assessments for many of PGI’s clients. These assessments included an analysis of each departments budgets, expenditures, staffing, safety and QA program, production, HR, salaries and benefits as well as developing key performance indicators (KPIs) within each function and department. 


He is responsible for the design and management of the Navigator Program, a system for providing ongoing facilities support services assistance to clients of Portolan Associates.  He is also responsible for our Safe Harbor Assessment/Quality Assurance Program, designed to assist schools and districts with assessing their performances in-house.  In addition, he is responsible for supporting all corporate support service functions, such as website management, marketing and sales materials design and modification, research and development.  Rob lives in Gainesville, Florida.  He enjoys family, fishing and golf.


  Senior Facilities Engineer





Roland is an experienced hands-on professional with a solid background in engineering and management.  He has specialized knowledge in the integration of technology with improved management procedures, stockroom management, facilities planning and scheduling and preventive maintenance. 

Roland has worked as Project Manager, Senior Industrial Engineer, Material Management, Technical Service Engineer and Trainer.  Roland has a B.S.I.E. degree.  He is a specialist in Information Technology (IT) systems related to physical plant and facilities management.  He has presented more than seventy seminars on effective planning, scheduling and best practice topics.  He has published articles in engineering trade journals and continues to provide training seminars on these topics.


He has worked most recently with Portolan’s assessments of The Broward County School District, Santa Rosa County Schools and the PBA for the County of Knox and the City of Knoxville.  In that capacity, he was involved in assessing, reorganizing and improving maintenance, facilities and warehousing operations. He specializes in providing assistance to public school districts and city/county government warehousing, stockroom and facilities operations.


Roland enjoys fixing or restoring old homes to their original design.  He is active in his community’s homeless shelter program.  He and his family enjoy hiking, especially in our nation’s parks.

Joseph M. Sharry

Support Services Specialist

Joe Sharry specializes in food service management. He has a unique blend of public and private sector experience that spans thirty years of consulting and management expertise. Joe has over fifteen years in the school food service area serving large, medium and small school districts.

Joe has experience in all aspects of school food service management.  His knowledge base includes: purchasing, marketing, nutrition, facilities design, equipment needs, satellite operations and benchmarks to ensure quality of service. Joe knows how to advise school districts on ways to ensure that the district’s food service program is successful. He has won many awards throughout the years for his innovative ideas as well as financial and management practices. He served as the Food Service Director for the Providence City School District.

Originally degreed with a BA in Psychology, Joe has a variety of food and nutrition qualifications that include both public and private food services enterprises. Currently Joe and his wife operate a B&B they started in 2000, and are in the process of starting a small winery to compliment their hospitality. Joe enjoys travel, golf and reading. He is a guru of the American Revolution Era.

Mary Pat Fortson

Project Specialist, Food and Nutrition

Mary is a food and nutrition specialist with over thirty years of experience in education. She has served as teacher, assistant professor at Florida State University, state food and nutrition program director of operations, and most recently as acting administrator of the Florida Department of Education, Food and Nutrition Division.

Mary is now retired from the Florida Department of Education, Food and Nutrition Division.  Mary’s major strengths are management, communication, training and team building. She has provided policy guidance, training and on-site assistance to numerous school districts in her positions as food and nutrition program specialist, program director and as state director. Mary is an excellent team builder who has established performance teams, set goals and objectives, reviewed performance and took corrective action where necessary resulting in effective food service delivery.

Mary has presented at many school food service workshops, given presentations to the state legislatures regarding regulatory reform on proposed law as it impacts students. She has presented at various state professional association conferences including the League of Women Voters and the Center for Children and Youth conference. She has her bachelor and masters degree in home economics and child nutrition from The University of Georgia. She is a member of the American and Florida School Food Service Association. She is also a member of the Standards of Practice for the Nutrition Integrity Committee.